Video tour of the damage at Rock Rimmon soccer field.
MANCHESTER, NH — Maria Brown is as frustrated as she is angry about the most recent vandalism spree at the city’s youth soccer field on the city’s West Side.
She refers to it in conversation as “her field” because for nine years she has taken to heart every responsibility, as league president of Manchester Angels Youth Soccer League, from registration and field maintenance to making sure every kid in the state of New Hampshire who wants to play there can.
So when she discovered the soccer nets in pieces and the new layer of graffiti on Tuesday, she wasn’t sure whether to scream or cry.
Instead, Brown is hoping to focus that negative energy into a positive resolution by rallying some assistance from anyone willing and able to help them recover and repair what’s been lost to yet another incidence of criminal mischief.
The loss and damage is estimated at just under $9,000. There is no insurance through the city, says Brown, which means the league takes the financial hit.
She says it’s happened before, and yet police department promises of stepping up patrols in the area have not been honored, according to Brown.
“A security camera would be nice,” said Brown. “It’s such a secluded area,” and a popular one that attracts people who “party” there all year round – even in winter, she says.
“Especially in winter,” says Brown. That’s when the nets get cut down and the metal stolen for scrap.
League officials suspect this incidence of vandalism may be related to a similar break-in at Bedford Little League, which is only about a five-mile drive from the soccer field.
She says the Angels are a unique league because it’s the largest league in the state and the only one that accepts players as young as 4 up to age 19. They often have players from as far away as Concord and the Seacoast because of it, says Brown. There were 650 registered players last year, so many that Brown had to add additional playing fields to accommodate every team.
“We’ve never turned any child away for lack of ability to pay,” said Brown, who says she got involved with the league when her son was born with a disability that required her to stay home to care for him.
“I needed something to keep my mind off of it, so I put my heart and soul into the league,” said Brown.